VOA is honored and proud to present to you Miss Asian America 2009, Amy Chanthaphavong, who became the first Laotian-American to be crowned Miss Asian America on Saturday, August 8, at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco.
Amy Chanthaphavong was born to Mr. Sane & Mrs. Monethaly Chanthaphavong in San Diego on April 28, 1982. Amy grew up in a loving family and has been involved with the Laotian American community in preserving the Lao culture. Even though Amy was born in America, her upbringing is more to the Lao side. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Business from the University of San Francisco. She did a year of Law school at California Western, but realized that it was never her thing. She then packed up and moved to New York to follow her dream in becoming a fashion designer. Amy is currently working part time as Operations Manager at Softagon, a software design company, and attending Parsons full time in Fashion Design.
VOA: What make you compete in this
Amy:"Once I was told that I'll will be the first Laotian American to compete in the Miss Asian America Pageant 2009. I am so excited and want to compete to represent the Laotian American community."
Amy also told VOA that the whole process is very intensive; there is about two months from the date of submission and the actual competition. "The hardest part is that the traditional Lao outfit had to be ordered from Laos. I've two traditional outfits: the black and gold color Lao Sinh, which I wore for the introduction to the stage, with a handmade larger than usual head piece for stage presentation purpose and the blue one which I wore for the talent show, for which I performed the well-wishing dance(Fon Ouyphone)," Amy explained.
Amy is a very smart and talented individual and poised trying to showcase her ability, knowledge and talent on the stage while competing in the pageant. Amy added that "The competition started even before the stage presentation, because each contestant had to make it to the 23 finalists first."
VOA: What would you like to share your experience of being Miss Asian America 2009?
Amy: "Winning the Miss Asian America title is not something I did on my own at all. It was through the purse of my friends, through the supports of my friends and family, my mother, my father. Once I realized that I won, it wasn't like "I WON", but rather "WE WON", as people and as a culture. When I went in to the competition, I did it for Laotians in the United States and Laos. I hope that whoever will compete in the pageant next year will think that she will do it for Laotians everywhere not just for their own benefits and glamour… to take it beyond themselves."
Amy Chanthapavong will attend the 5th annual celebration of the Laotian Heritage Foundation in Washington DC on September 19, 2009 to help showcase, promote and expand Lao heritage through arts, performances and literature. Mark your calendar and show your support and hope to see you there.
For additional information please go to http://www.laoheritagefoundation.org/
Enjoy Amy's interview by clicking any audio files above.
Thank you for beautiful photos...Henry Liu & David Yu.